The Dialectics of Uneven Spatial-Temporal Development: Migrants and Reproduction in Late Capitalism

  • Winnie Lem


This chapter is an exploration of the ways in which the dialectic between space and time ramifies in the lives of women, who in confronting the vagaries of the unevenness of capitalist transformation are socially reproduced as migrants. To do this, the chapter draws on recent scholarship on the notion of uneven and combined development as well as insights from Lefebvre’s (Explorations et découvertes. Continuum, New York, 1992) methodology of “rhythmanalysis” and Bloch’s (New German Critique 11: 22–38, 1977) conceptualization of the “simultaneity of the non-simultaneous”. An engagement with this work is intended to outline how their theoretical and methodological insights enable an understanding of the spatio-temporalities of migration in the context of capitalist change that moves beyond an emphasis of time as preeminently chronological, linear and historical. The chapter further explores how their insights also extend current notions of scale beyond a conventional conceptualization as spatio-political. I do this by thinking through what conceptual possibilities may be opened up by situating the analytic lens at the scale of migrant women’s bodies in delineating a historical materialism of bio-physicality. The chapter therefore focuses on migrants who have relocated to Paris from the Northeastern Provinces of China to address how women’s bodies and lives are entangled within local, regional, national and globe-spanning processes that are mutually consituted but spatially and temporally uneven. I focus particularly on the discrepant temporalities of such entanglements as are present in the lives of migration women to, argue that attempts to grant more analytical eminence to time may enhance understandings of how the lives of the people we study articulate with the imperatives of capitalist change.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Winnie Lem
    • 1
  1. 1.International Development StudiesTrent UniversityPeterboroughCanada

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